What if this never ends? I don’t mean the stay at home orders. I know that someday we will go back to work. Schools will resume. We will meet friends for dinner and make appointments for haircuts. I know we won’t all stay in our houses forever. And honestly, I can’t wait.
I can’t wait to stop worrying
I can’t wait to stop worrying about whether this tightness in my chest is anxiety or illness. I can’t wait to go grocery shopping without fear or to say hello to a neighbor without calculating in my head the distance between us. I can’t wait to watch my son play basketball or get a phone call from one of my girls telling me about the fun night she had with her roommates.
No question, life in social isolation is hard, but it wasn’t tonight. Tonight after a supper of grilled cheese sandwiches and homemade tomato soup, our children all piled into bed together to watch a movie. I could hear their laughter all the way down the hall. And I was so grateful.
A few nights ago we sat outside, enjoying the night air, with no place to go, no meetings or games or nagging homework assignments, and I was so grateful.
I am grateful for this time with family
I am grateful for these seemingly insignificant moments with my family, and I am grateful that when all hell broke loose and the world as we know it came to a screeching halt, our children came home. And we are figuring out this new normal together.
It isn’t how I would have wanted it, but suddenly and unexpectedly I find myself surrounded by my children again day after day–their chatter, their arguing, their complaining, and their kindness. Some days we laugh and talk and bake cookies and binge watch Netflix. Other days we just get by and stay out of each other’s way. But I am always grateful.
And it’s not just this time, this precious time, with my kids that I’m grateful for. I’m grateful every day when I go for my walk. Grateful to be outside and moving. Grateful for spring weather and blooming flowers. Grateful for my health.
I am grateful for the little things
In these dark days when there is so much uncertainty and fear, sadness and loss, I find that I am noticing countless little things every single day to be grateful for. A good meal. A funny story. A text from a friend. A deep breath.
Although, it’s hard living like this, if I’m being honest, I kind of like it too–at least some of it. I feel guilty saying that. I know my family has it easier than so many others. But for now, we are all called to do what we can. For us, and so many others, that means staying home and staying safe.
Those of us on the sidelines of this fight can still help. We can pray and grocery shop for those who can’t. We can give to charitable causes or sew masks. But the bulk of our effort to fight this virus consists of simply staying home.
And at home, life is slow and simple. I like not rushing, rushing, rushing in the morning to get out the door and rushing home at night to grab a quick bite before heading out again. I am grateful for leisurely mornings with my coffee before going to work (in the next room) and quiet evenings with my family.
I like not stressing out about if or when I’ll find time to exercise but instead trying to decide if I’d rather take a morning walk or an evening walk. Or both?
I like not wearing makeup or shoes that hurt my feet. I like the slower pace. I like this low key life.
It’s not always easy, life under orders to stay at home. Sometimes the days are long and the conversations short. This is a lot of grown (or nearly grown) people living under one roof. We all miss things about our old life. But even when it’s hard, there’s something about crisis combined with quiet that breeds gratitude. Safe at home together day after day, my family has time and reason to be grateful.
What if this never ends?
So, what if this never ends? What if when we go back to work and to school, when we can go out to dinner and get actual, professional haircuts, what if we are still grateful? Not just grateful that the worst of this is over or grateful for a return to “normal life,” but what if we are all still grateful for countless little things every day? What if this time of crisis and quiet has taught us to see those little things?
What if we remember what it was like not to be rushed? What if we slow down? What if, when life goes back to being busy and hectic, we long for a little more quiet?
What if those of us who spent this time safe and at home don’t just get through but, what if we are changed–even just a little? And what if we are called to bear witnesses to that change, to some of what we learned about being content and making do? What if, after life returns to normal, we all still laugh more and talk more, maybe even bake more?
What if we find a renewed appreciation for life and for each other and for simple pleasures? What if, because of what we have all been through, we are kinder and gentler and a little more patient with ourselves and with each other.
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